Tuesday, October 31, 2017

T Stands for 20 Things About Ink

Ink patiently waits for the tea party to begin.
The tea service is Ma's prized Rosethal china.
The pattern is called  Caprice.
Today would have been Ink's 20th birthday. So for T Stands for Tuesday 20 things about Ink.

1. We got him as a kitten in December. He was the runt of his litter. We don't know when his real birthday was just that he was born in October. The girlies thought a black cat's birthday must be on Halloween so that became Ink's birthday.

2. He had a sweet tooth and was fond of yellow cake or muffins, vanilla ice cream, and vanilla yogurt.

3. He was so little when we first got him that his jaws weren't strong enough to crunch the kitty kibble. On the advice of the vet, I cooked Ink scrambled eggs and oatmeal for the first two or three weeks. Himself was a little jealous I cooked breakfast for the cat but not for Himself.

4. Ink was allergic to seafood. He loved it, but seafood didn't love him.

5. He once growled at a UPS delivery man putting a package on the front steps. He had never growled at anyone before and never did after this incident. I have no idea what bothered him as the man never came into the house. Maybe Ink just didn't like the color brown.

6. He didn't really play with a lot of cat toys though he enjoyed chewing the leather tails off of some tiny, toy mice I found at Target,

7. He had a plastic fetish. To satisfy his plastic tooth, his favorite toys were plastic, bendy drinking straws. He also liked to chew on the handles of plastic bags.

8. Though he was affectionate with other family members, he imprinted on me. He would wander the house crying looking for me if I went out. Maybe I imprinted on him.

9. He was very vocal and he talked. Very clearly, he could say "Out" when he wanted to go out into the sun room or front porch. "Now" or emphatically "NOW" when he wanted to take a nap with me or wanted me to go to bed at night. He wouldn't nap or sleep in the bedroom unless I was there.

10. When I wasn't looking, he liked to jump up on the drafting table to drink the dirty, ink or paint water.

11. He ate too fast. To slow him down, we put a golf ball in the middle of his dish. When the kibble got low in the bowl, he would use his paw to scoop out kibble onto the floor.

12. A visit to the vet wasn't his favorite place to go. He didn't like the cat carrier or the ride in the car. Only one time at the vet did he turn into a demon kitty. When the male technician began the prelim exam, Ink growled and flattened his ears. I also thought his eyes turned red. It only happened one time and the only time with the male tech. I have no idea why because the first vet we used to go to was male and Ink never did this.

13. Working at the computer downstairs was his signal for cuddle time. He liked to sit in your lap while you worked (or tried to work). The Young One taught him this trick. The Eldest called the computer the cuddle box.

14. When he was little he used to jump up on the table to steal broccoli. He liked it, but it didn't like him.

15. When he was little he jumped up on the table and stole a steak off Himself''s plate. Tried to run away to savor the treat that was bigger than he was. He didn't get very far and Himself wasn't amused.

16. Ink's favorite cuddle times during the day were 4:30 AM and 11:00 PM.

17. If he was displeased about something (not enough attention or getting locked out of a room), he would leave a poop 💩 in front of a bedroom door or on the bathroom floor next to his litter box.

18. He sometimes sat near me at the dinner table and begged giving me big kitty eyes. Then he would place his paw on my knee, stretch up, and check out if there was something tasty close to the edge of the table he could nab.

19. He didn't like to be held cradled like a baby. He liked to be held upright looking over your shoulder. Sometimes, he would climb up and sit on my shoulder. Who needs a parrot?

20. He sometimes snored when he slept. He sounded like a squeaky toy.

Drop by hosts, Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog to find out what the rest of the T Stands For gang is up to. If you want to play, include in your Tuesday post a beverage or container for a beverage. Don't forget to link your blog to Bleubeard and Elizabeth's page.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Oh, Bother

Two storms converged one from the West and the remnants of Tropical Storm Phillipe coming up the East coast. Just in case, I did a bit of storm prep. Filled up the water buckets so we could flush the toilet. Completely forgot about filling up pitchers for drinking water, though there were a few small bottles of water in the pantry.

The rain began Sunday afternoon and came down in buckets by late afternoon and the evening. The howling wind whistling around the eaves woke me up around 2 AM. Himself was up and it took my sleepy brain a few minutes to process, we were without electricity. I heard him banging around the garage getting the generator going and retrieving the battery back-up for his CPAP machine.

I reported the power outage to the electric company. Himself came upstairs. Bad news. He couldn't get the generator or the back-up running for the sump pump. The basement was flooded. Pooh would say, "Oh, bother." But that's not the expression I used

Nothing to be done but to go back to bed. Maybe in the morning, the electricity would be back on. No such luck. At least the rain had stopped but no morning tea. Oh, bother. Himself decided he would try to make it to the college. They had electricity.

Checking the town site on Facebook, 11 trees were down and some roads around town were impassable. The electric company had no estimate on when electricity would be restored. Oh, bother. Others reported flooded basements. At least we weren't alone. Schadenfreude.

At 12:45 PM, the electricity came back on. Happy Dance! First thing, flush the toilet. Second thing, make a cup of tea. Life is good. Of course, the shop vac wouldn't work so clean-up could begin. Oh, bother. Himself will bring a shop vac with him on his way home.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

How Does Your Garden Grow?

A lull in the storm and a splash of color across the street

Brilliant color next to the neighbor's fence.

Heavy winds blew the dragon over. Surprised with his outstretched wings he didn't go airborne

I liked the way this leaf was standing up in the grass.

Busy afternoon at the feeder. A house finch and a nuthatch share the perch while mourning doves rummage in the grass

Another girls' morning out

Almost 5 inches of rain from two straight days of heavy rain. Glad it wasn't snow or this would have totaled nearly 50 inches

Morning glories think it's August. I'm not complaining

and bring brightness to the morning gloom

A petunia, a little worse for wear, still hanging on

Dido is completely hidden by dusty blue and lavender hydrangea blooms

How does your garden grow?

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Happy Mail

Lady Caer at The Wiccan Life had a blog raffle for a lovely Halloween wreath. I didn't win the wreath, but Lady Caer had another surprise for me. A cute, black cat in a pumpkin figurine. The package arrived the day before the heavy rainstorm. The box was larger than I expected, and I eagerly opened it. Under a pile of packing peanuts and wrapped tightly in bubble wrap was the figure. And two more surprises. A fun Halloween card, and pretty Autumn dish towel.

The Young One helped me unwrap the figurine, carefully wrapped like a Russian nesting doll. Such a sweet figurine. Thank you, Lady Caer, you made my day.

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. Won a blog prize.

2.  Fun surprise finding Ink's toy mouse hiding spots

3. and dry kibble stash

4. Had a bizarre dream with Dad, me, and Matthew Broderick from Glory touring Victorian homes. What's the message? Sometimes a banana is just a banana?

5.Received happy mail. More tomorrow.

How was your week?

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Throwback Thursday - The Notebooks

To clear up some confusion, the Notebook passages posted on Throwback Thursday were written by my father and found by me after he passed away. They were his attempt to tell the family history. He was in his late 80s or early 90s when he wrote them. Today's chapter:

My aunt came first [ed: to the US] as the elder child. I don't know how old she was when she came. She married here to a man named Emanuel DeCristoforo. He was an artist actually who worked with marble and granite. He had a hand in sculpting the two lions that are on either side of the stairway at the Boston Public Library.

Each of the brothers [ed: Joe, Achille, and Alfred] lived with their sister and her family. Each had his own trade. Uncle Joe was a barber. My father [ed: Achille] a tailor and qualified as a journeyman customs tailor. Uncle Fred was a shoemaker. And he made custom shoes. Put your foot on the pattern paper and he would trace your foot, take whatever measurements e needed and in due course, one would have his or her or children's shoes.

Aunt Angelina had children. I don't know how many at the time, there were nine. When I grew older Joe was the second last. Margaret, Chris [ed: Chris was Uncle Manny's son from his first marriage to Margaret Knox. Margaret died when Chris was 2 yrs old. He was raised by his mother's family]Raymond, Richard, Annie, Manuel, Joe, Alfred.

Each brother got a job and left their sister's on their marriage late. Uncle Joe was first. Knowing my aunt and from what I heard, she was not in favor of that marriage. Uncle went ahead, as I understood it, and married Aunt Clara, she was a lovely looking woman. The problem was that she was a divorcée [ed: At the time, as a Catholic and marrying a divorced person, one would not be able to marry in the Church or take Communion at Mass. In the eyes of the Church, the marriage would not be recognized.] with two children both girls and lovely looking. Uncle did not adopt them, but they did live with Uncle Joe and called him by his first name. Although they lived with him and their mother, he did not seem to have any friendship with the girls. They addressed him, but he was not always responsive.

Aunt Clara was very proud of him and left me no doubt that Uncle Joe was number 1. He was in love with her. Any many years later, he told me how they both would go to the Saturday night dance at the veterans' hall. And when the orchestra took a break he would go and refresh himself with drinks. He was quite a character. Always called me nephew and he would always come and visit when your mother and I moved to Natick [ed: Uncle Joe lived the next town West of Natick in Framingham] He brought a cake and would a lot of times wait for me. At that time I was a lawyer and I put in long hours or attended meetings. When I graduated and passed the Bar, he had a little dinner at my cousin's restaurant. He gave me a wristwatch. It's a Waltham, it still works and keeps good time. This April '07 it became 56 years old. It's an antique. Waltham Watch shut down long ago. [ed: Sorry, Dad, when I was cleaning out the house, I looked for this watch, but never found it.]

Whenever Uncle Joe came to visit us in East Boston or his sister, he either came alone without Aunt Clara. He never brought Aunt Clara to his sister's house.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

T Stands for Yarn Run with Red

I was starting another crochet project and had whined complained to Red that Michael's didn't have a really big selection of yarn. She called a week or so later and asked if I wanted to go yarn shopping at

Jo-Ann Fabrics. She said they had lots of choices.

and afterward, we'd go poke around the Christmas Tree Shop. But first back to Jo-Ann's

Lots of fun Fall decorations. I took a picture of the hedgehog for my friend, Tiggy, in Scotland. She loves hedgehogs.

Besides finding just the right color yarn I was looking for, I was thrilled to find the wreath stand. These have been hard to find come December when we bring a Christmas wreath to my parents' grave.  I snapped one up, but thinking about it, I should have bought two. Just in case, the item becomes hard to find next year.

And just when I thought how refreshing it was to see Fall and Halloween decorations having their own space,

I turned the corner to find Christmas decorations encroaching on Halloween. Guess that's why it's the Christmas Tree Shop

Grab a mug for your favorite beverage.

While heading to the checkout, we had a really good laugh about all the Wicked stuff. Mints,  fridge magnets, cup holders, coasters - all making fun of our Boston accent. We have a tendency to drop our "Rs". Use your blinkah when signaling a turn when driving your cah.

Red had been shopping for items for raffle baskets for the Waters Farm Fall Festival. She thought the Wicked Pissah items would be a big hit. So she bought a bunch of stuff. She was right, the baskets were a big hit.

Standing in line with all our loot. New garden flag posts, gifts for Christmas, goodies

and a splurge item for me.

After all the shopping, we were stahving so went to the Uptowne Mediterranean next to Jo-Ann's for lunch. Red had eaten at this restaurant before, and she gave it a rave review.

We split a spinach pie appetizer.

I had a gyro which is a most delicious Greek sandwich of lamb wrapped in a flatbread with tomato, onion (none on mine), and tzatziki sauce. Bliss. And the perfect end to the perfect day.

Drop by hosts, Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog to find out what the rest of the T Stands For gang is up to. If you want to play, include in your Tuesday post a beverage or container for a beverage. Don't forget to link your blog to Bleubeard and Elizabeth's page.

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Great Upheaval

Last Thanksgiving, the plan was to paint all the rooms in the house. We managed to paint one wall in the dining room  and then as usual plans changed. Installation of solar panels happened and then, Himself decided we should put in the mini-splits. We got a zero interest loan through Mass Save and decided not only to install the  mini-splits, but a new furnace as the furnace we have is nearing the end of its life. And while we were at it, we'd replace the old, original to the house (55 yrs old),ugly baseboard heaters. Seemed silly to paint with all the destruction to take place.

I emptied and moved Ma's curio cabinet before I thought of taking pictures of the room. You can see the edge of the curio cabinet on the right side of the picture.

The mini-splits were installed during the Summer and this week the new furnace and baseboard heaters. All the furniture has to be moved away from the walls.  Which also meant the items in the curio cabinets had to be taken out, furniture moved to the opposite side of the room, and stuff put back in the cabinets.

We found Ink's stash of mice when we moved the corner curio cabinet. I thought they ended up under the fridge, but obviously, this was the choice spot.

Loveseat and chairs moved to the center of the living room. Curio cabinets were move to the opposite side of the room in front of the piano. There is no baseboard along that side of the wall.

Furnace and baseboard installation in all rooms is supposed to take a solid week. Next week, I'll be able to start painting rooms. Unless we come up with another project.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Morning glory leaves wither on the vine after a light frost.

The cardinal hasn't been around much but stopped by at dusk one evening. Hi, Dad!

The bunny hasn't been around much this week either, but he showed up at the same time as the cardinal. I'm ready for my close-up, Ceej.

Another visitor dropped by when we got home with take-out from Star Dumpling.

The weather warmed up this week, and the morning glories went wild behind Ink's garden.

A riot of color in the woods behind the New Girl's House.

Maple leaves look like duck feet.

The Heath asters went to seed and look like fluffy snowballs.

Himself's twig dropped all its leaves.

More color in the woods behind the house.

How does your garden grow?

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Message from Grandma

It started while Himself and I were watching the Father Brown Mysteries. The broad-brimmed hat with rounded crown reminded me of the  maccaroni my grandma (Ma's mother) made. The pasta was shaped like the hat. We called them cappellini (we pronounced this coop-pel-leen-ie). How I miss those delicious, melt in your mouth little hats, smothered in gravy (tomato sauce).

And even though when I was little, I watched Grandma make the maccaroni. I couldn't remember what she did. Ma didn't make this recipe either. I'm not sure she had mastered the technique. Ma told me Grandma (we never called her Nonna. It was understood we had to speak American) would take a bit of the dough, spread it with the tip of  a knife, and flip it over her thumb to shape the hat. Wouldn't have mattered as Grandma's recipes were not written down.

And then there was the dream. I was with a bunch of relatives long gone from this life. Even Ma's youngest brother, my uncle, who I didn't particularly care for. In the morning, I told Himself of being with the dead relatives. There were no other specifics of the dream I remembered or even who else was there.

In the evening, Himself said , I know why you had the dream about your dead relatives.


Today, is National Pasta Day.

Hmmm. I think it was all because of Father Brown's hat.

Later that night while playing on Facebook, a live video, Cooking with Nonna crossed my feed. Nonna was making home-made pasta. So I watched the video. Nonna's granddaughter, Rossella, was running the camera and color commentary. She said Nonna was making orecchietti (little ears). Having nothing better to do, I watched.

Nonna rolled out the dough into a rope. She took a knife, cut a bit off. With her fore-finger on the knife tip, she pulled the bit of dough towards her and the flipped the dough over her thumb. And I almost cried. She was making cappellini!!

Rossella picked up the pasta and turned it towards the camera to show the shape. She said orecchietti were called little ears or little hats!

Rosella collaborated with her grandmother and wrote a cookbook, Cooking with Nonna. I had errands to run at the mall (and I bought some Play-Doh to practice) so for giggles stopped into Barnes and Noble to see if they had the book in stock. They did! I raced drove home safely, brewed a cup of tea, and sat down with the book. Nonna is from Ariana, the same area as my grandma. A lot of the recipes were familiar, and I started to cry. A part of my heritage, I thought was lost forever has been found and returned to me.

I've been practicing with the Play-Doh to get the hang of the technique. Semolina flour is on the shopping list.

The veil is thinning at this time of the year. I'm glad I was paying attention so Grandma wouldn't throw her shoe at me.

Grazie, Grandma.